The Art of Change

A friend of mine was telling me she’d heard that creativity was one of the great casualties of the pandemic (my words, not hers). She noted how she’d stopped doing any of the creative things she’d previously loved to do, like quilting, and even now was struggling to find the energy to return to those pursuits.

Partly to keep her young daughters busy this summer and partly to spark her own creative juices, she signed them all up for a fused glass class and found while her daughters had no trouble getting into the work, she struggled. She could envision what she wanted to make, but couldn’t figure out how to get there. It upset her greatly and those emotions, I think, unnerved her.

But art is emotion. We forget that sometimes. Now that our minds and bodies are slowly emerging from a state of high stress, we likely have many pent-up emotions to shed. And for those who work in any type of caregiver role, like my friend, the stress of the pandemic is still playing out.

I suggested that she dabble for a bit. I pointed her toward the weekly two-hour classes at a local art gallery where she could try her hand at anything from photography to felt sculpture. I reminded her the point was just to have fun exploring something new. She’d need to avoid expectations of either “being good” at that new medium or of “finding my new art.”

The fact is we’ve all changed in the past year and a half. If our old favorite past-times are no longer calling to us, maybe it’s because somehow, we moved beyond them. It’s not to say we won’t ever come back to them, but maybe if we dip a toe into some other mediums, we’ll come back to them from a new perspective or in a whole new style.

There’s the art we feel called to do well, which requires practice and discipline. Then there’s the art we feel called to do simply because it increases our joy and gives us energy. Those of us who’ve made art our professions may be plugging along trying to force practice and discipline when really what our souls need right now are joy and energy.

It’s time for this physician, too, to heal herself.

By Teresa R. Funke

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